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December 11, 2020

NetworkPROJECT UPDATE: supporting West and Central African museums in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic

Our joint project with the International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH) is progressing well: find out what we have achieved so far!

Last July, we announced the ad hoc cooperation between the two international organizations to respond to the Covid-19 crisis in conflict and post-conflict areas: through the ALIPH emergency granting scheme, we are supporting 14 museums located in 5 West and Central African countries.

The institutions are developing projects to improve museum security, provide staff training, and make the collections accessible online. The projects are being monitored by our Heritage Protection Department.


In Burkina-Faso, we are currently working with our National Committee to safeguard and secure the collections of the Birgui Julien Ouedraogo Museum of Gourcy, the Bendrology Museum of Manéga, the Douroula Museum and the Communal Museum of Kaya, all located in conflict areas.

Our Heritage Protection Coordinator, Elsa Urtizverea, at the Risk Management workshop in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso

The project is divided into three steps:

  • an onsite training, which took place at the beginning of November, focused on preventive conservation, designing emergency evacuation plans and other effective tools to safeguard collections in conflict zones
  • An onsite risk assessment developed by emergency management experts, selected and managed by ICOM Burkina Faso
  • The installation of security doors and cameras in the participating museums.


The Mali national committee, along with 6 Malian museums, contributed to the drafting of an emergency management manual, specifically designed to cope with the current sanitary crisis. The next phase of the project with consist of training workshops for the museum staff, to exchange and learn on crucial security and safety issues.

These recommendations develop, applying them to the specific case of Mali, the guidelines we developed in collaboration with our international committees.

Participants in the training workshop for museum directors, with representatives from the Malian cultural sector


ICOM Cameroon has developed and an extensive collection management project for the Royal Museum of the Mokolo Lamidat, including an inventory toolkit for the museum staff. The initiative will start with an extensive documentary research on the collection and the application of archiving standards for the objects. A second phase will proceed to a global evaluation of the state of conservation of the objects, their cleaning and labelling.

ICOM Cameroon chair, Christian Nana, with the staff to the Royal Museum and the ICOM inventory toolkit


The Badagry Heritage Museum in the Lagos State of Nigeria is finalizing a massive research project about the transatlantic slave trade, including a digitization of the collections that will allow the institution to increase accessibility, and in particular for its primary target: school children.

Memorial well built  where the British hoisted their flag for the first time in Nigeria © Badagry Heritage Museum

The projects, funded by ALIPH for a total of 74,200 USD, will be completed between January and February 2021. To find out more about the museums involved and the actions we are developing with them, check our interactive map below.